EUROPE/FRANCE – Paris-based Axa Investment Managers are ready to enter the exchange traded fund (ETF) market with the official launch next week of their new Easy ETF sector fund range that received a listing on Euronext in Paris earlier this week.

The new funds will track EuroStoxx indices for the following sectors: banks; energy; healthcare; insurance; media; technology; telecoms; utilities.

Along with the launch last week of seven new sector ETFs by Unico, as reported on IPE Newsline, Axa’s new range helped the European ETF market once again show substantial progress. The number of ETFs in Europe now stands at 90, and increase of 19 since January, according to figures just issued by Morgan Stanley.

The number of funds actually listed on European exchanges rose to 125, the difference being ETFs with more than one listing.

The latest figures show that Europe is fast catching up the US in terms of number of funds. The US has 102 ETFs, but Deborah Fuhr of Morgan Stanley points out that Europe is still lagging in terms of value. “We expect the number of European ETFs to surpass the Americans this year, but in terms of value, they’ve some catching up to do. The European ETF market is now worth some US$6bn (€6.8bn) compared with the US market’s US$85bn,” she comments.

Fuhr says the difference in value is largely historical. “ETFs have only been in Europe for the last 20 months whereas the States has been trading them since 1993. But we are confident that the European market will continue to grow as more and more asset managers see them as another means of distribution and the exchanges themselves use them to attract inward investment.”